The exhibition reflects on the problem of different ethnicity, religion and nationality, questioning the possibilities of cultural dialogue in a homogenous society, with a strong emphasis on this realm in Poland. The controversial title "Dla ciebie chcę być biała" / "I Want to Be White for You" was taken from a song performed by Reri, a star from Tahiti featured in the 1934 Polish film "Czarna Perła" / "Black Pearl"...
Julia Zborowska, "She Wants Crocodiles" / "Ona chce krokodyli", music video, music by Luis Brettsuch, 2009; photo: press materials
The exhibition reflects on the problem of different ethnicity, religion and nationality, questioning the possibilities of cultural dialogue in a homogenous society, with a strong emphasis on this realm in Poland
The controversial title "Dla ciebie chcę być biała" / "I Want to Be White for You" was taken from a song performed by Reri, a beautiful star from Tahiti featured in the 1934 Polish film Czarna Perła / Black Pearl.
The set presents works by artists relating to the subject on various levels, including pieces by: Rahim Blak (Kraków), Hubert Czerepok (Wrocław), Andrzej Kwietniewski (Łódź), Dominika Łabądź (Wrocław), Tomasz Malec (Lublin), Jasmina Metwaly (Poznań/London/Cairo) and Julia Zborowska (Kraków/Vienna).
Reri's performance, filled with sex-appeal, but also honest and genuine, is watched from a balcony by Eugeniusz Bodo, one of the most iconic lovers of pre-war cinema. In private life, the actor was involved in a turbulent love affair with the singer from Tahiti. Reri, also known as Anna Chevalier, was convinced to stay in Poland by Bodo, interrupting a successful tour around Europe. Unfortunately, the romance between the exotic singer and the Polish dandy is not followed by a happy ending. Bodo is soon bored by his lover, while Anna seeks solace in alcohol and the nightlife, leading their paths to separate eventually. After her flirt with the "white world", success in Hollywood and Europe, Anna comes back to her native Tahiti with her addiction as her only baggage. She cherishes and cries her lost love for the rest of her life.
From today's perspective, Reri's performance in The Black Pearl doesn't fit into any frame of political correctness. The title of the exhibition, inspired by the chorus of the song and the story of the female character, is symbolic: it reflects on the possibility of an equal, non-discriminatory dialogue between the majority and the minority, on coexistence and cohabitation, which instead of creating violent and hurtful relations of dependency, would actually form a synergy enriching both sides. Reri's utopian dream to become white coloured in order to become one with her ideal, is replaced in that point of view by the utopia of existing next to each other in harmony.
The exhibition at the BWA Studio is accompanied by a science conference under the same title organized by the University of Wrocław (more info...
). However, the aforementioned conference is not meant to illustrate the exhibition. It's aim is to create an artistic forum about the influence of exotic, foreign and different cultures on Polish art since 1945. One of its purposes is to show how changes occurring in the social landscape are translated onto the artistic world. Poland is an interesting and singular case for that matter, as it has no colonial history or expansion ambitions comparable to that of the British or French. It is a country that past 1945 has globally become a homogenous nation as to its nationalistic and religious structure. It implies that any kind of otherness stands out. On one hand, the memory of Jewish culture is carefully cherished, after the trauma of the Holocaust massive exterminations left many major cities such as Łódź, Warsaw or Kraków with a significant void. On the other hand, the remaining religious and ethnic communities express a strong will to almost exclusively freeze and selfishly preserve their identity and culture.
The recent joining of Poland to the European Union, to the Schengen zone, the flourishing investments of foreign industries and companies, along with a growing migration placed the country in front of universal problems, related to the redefinition of enclaves for the "Stranger".
Such questions as the maintenance of their cultural identity by immigrants, about tolerance and Polish openness to difference are hot topics in Poland. Those themes are not only treated by artists evolving between various cultures, but by Polish artists as well, who try to depict and translate the changes they observe into their work.
Curator: Patrycja Sikora.
Opening: October 22, 2010 at 8:00PM.
Featuring the performance of Rahim Blak.
The exhibition runs through November 10, 2010.
46a Ruska Street
Source: Press release.